Sunday, November 12, 2017

Crabs at Restaurant Petrus

I admit I don't come to Restaurant Petrus often - my last visit was more than a year ago - but I remembered my meal last time was pretty decent and since then I have been hearing good things about its chef Ricardo Chaneton’s cooking too. So I was pretty excited to come with some friends for a dinner earlier this week to try their special “Crabalicious” menu featuring a few crab dishes.

Compared to many newer fine-dining restaurants featuring a more contemporary look, Restaurant Petrus on Island Shangri-la is one of the few remaining in town which still got that classic feel with Victorian-style upholstery and big chandelier, the setting that made you feel you need to dress up a notch for the occasion. Something I certainly don’t mind doing every now and then.

While the décor was formal and uptight, the dishes were very easy-going and enjoyable. The menu we got that evening was a special one created as part of the territory-wide promotion by the Hong Kong Tourism Board highlighting the finest of Hong Kong restaurants. After the two small dishes of nibbles (foie gras crème brulee and beetroot tartare) as our amuse-bouche, we began with a pair of crab dishes. First was a simple dish that I thought encapsulated the spirit of autumn, with picked red crab meat and celeriac done 2 ways (sliced and mousseline) plus thin slices of white truffles on top for a mild but pleasant aroma.

The presentation of our second course might be a bit gimmicky (but fun), and overall the taste was great. The brass press (similar to those used in the famous French dish of pressed duck) was carted in next to our table with half an Alaska king crab (meat and shell) put in and pressed to get the “meat jus” to be poured on top of the warm salad with ribbons of root vegetables, Alaska king crab legs and a small dab of caviar. And on the side was the smooth, rich and tasty steamed egg custard well infused with the crab broth flavor. The intense but clean flavor of the "crab jus" sang well with the caviar on top for a harmonious duet of ocean tastes.

We moved away from the seafood dishes with our main course of beef. Again, it’s another straight forward presentation with a piece of well-marbled Miyazaki beef cooked medium rare and served with the jus reduction, and on the side was Jerusalem artichokes cooked 3 ways – in sautéed chunks, chips and puree. I love the meaty flavor of the wagyu beef with good balance of fat. That went perfectly well with the glass of Bordeaux poured to pair, with an elegant, medium-to-full body with ripe black fruits and cocoa on the palate.

We finished with a simple dessert served in a glass bowl, with "white coffee" icecream, white chocolate mousse and almond sabayon on top. It’s like an Almond Dacquoise served inside out and I like the surprisingly rich coffee flavor in a perfectly white dessert and the creamy texture.

(The meal was by invitation courtesy of Island Shangri-la based on a special set menu as part of a seasonal promotion)

When? November 6 2017
Where? Restaurant Petrus, Level 56, Island Shangri-la, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Le Crab a la presse – Alaska King crab in 2 sevices – custard and handpicked warm salad
2013 Domaine Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly
2015 Henri Germain Meursault 1er Cru Charmes
2010 Chateau Palmer “Alter Ego”

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